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Is apathy the barrier against the Energy Sector? 

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By Daanyaal Matthews 

In a monumental agreement, the Republic of South Africa and China have signed an agreement that would see the eastern state provide over R500 million worth of investment towards the betterment of the energy sector. However, while this has been welcomed, it has additionally been questioned by many pundits both regarding what the deal would entail, the logistics of how it would be rolled out and the glaring problem of corruption that has ravaged the sector. 

But, while many are skeptical of the deal, others believe that during this period of time what is required is national unity to rally behind the Government. Speaking on VOC Breakfast on Tuesday, Zakhele Madela, Energy Expert, elaborated his thoughts on this position by stating: 

“I would say we have a problem with the people now who continue looking for problems even when the problems are being addressed. The fact of the matter is that loadshedding is being contained and I would quite wish that Government would save every penny to silence the pessimists.” 

While these comments for national unity, and criticism of ‘detractors’, are known, the question becomes whether this level of pessimism is justified given the gravity of loadshedding, the unanswered promises from yonder and the overall apathy regarding Government that has grown after years of mismanagement.  

Madela however, while agreeing with the notion that apathy was warranted given the history of Eskom, disagrees that it is helping the nation moving forward, arguing that individuals are engaging in speculation which runs contrary to solution-based thinking which is what is needed within the Republic. 

‘We cannot give up on our country, we must be part of the solution, pointing fingers is not helping anyone, we can only hold the Government to account if we show where this money must rather than speculation,’ said Madela.

While Madela is largely in favour of supporting Government during this period, he has also been vocal on the reality that he views President Ramaphosa as the biggest threat to the energy sector and South Africa as a whole. One example Madela points to epitomize this position is the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan which he argues runs contrary to the words of former Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer, an individual who has operated in the energy sector for roughly 30 years, who has stated that renewable energy is not enough to curtail the issue of loadshedding in South Africa.  


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